A cable manufacturer has been fined after two employees were injured in two separate incidents on the same machine at its factory in Leigh. The circumstances were:
The machine is used to mould rubber as part of the production of ignition cables for the automotive industry.
It was poorly maintained and safety features were missing or inadequate.
Workers had not received suitable training and a safe system of work was not in place.
It was possible for employees to stand on the concrete ledge under the machine, putting them in a position where they were at risk of being trapped by the rollers.
The rollers rotate three quarters of the way around after the emergency stop is pressed
The first incident occurred when a worker was cleaning the blade on the machine. He accidentally leant on the operating pedal which caused his finger to become trapped.
The second incident occurred less than a month later when a worker was cleaning the rollers on the machine when his left arm became trapped.
He hit the stop bar but the machine took several seconds to stop, dragging his arm into the rollers and raising his entire body off the floor. It took the emergency services almost an hour to release him and he was kept in hospital for nearly a month.
He lost almost all of the use of his left arm, and narrowly avoided having to have it amputated.
TCB Arrow Ltd, was fined £28,984 (inc. costs) at the court hearing on 26th July 2013.
The HSE Inspector said:
"Two employees were injured within a month of each other because TCB Arrow's health and safety procedures fell way below the minimum legal standards. One of the men will be affected by his injuries for the rest of his life after losing almost all of the use of his left arm. His injuries could have been avoided if the company had taken action to improve safety following the first incident. Our investigation found TCB last carried out a generic risk assessment for the factory in 2003, and there had never been a specific assessment of the machine - despite the risks of workers being injured by rollers being well known in the manufacturing industry. If the company had put more thought into the health and safety of its employees then the injuries both men suffered could have been avoided."